this is not a question. this is a response to a posting.
i used this Shalom Journey's when i went to Israel - my first trip December 15-December 31st, 2013. the following are my experiences with Shalom Journey's:
To begin with Israel is an amazing country filled with historical and religious and contemporary sites. The people of Israel are warm and welcoming but be careful of the constantly changing prices (lol). I am already planning my next trip it was so great!
Now on to my review of the travel services I received while planning my trip and while I was in Israel.
I booked my tour with Shalom Journey’s (Shalom Even, owner) because I saw such amazing reviews on tripadvisor. I will be more cautious in the future.
When I booked my trip with Shalom he was very nice and very responsive, he requested payment by check (with the exception of a small initial deposit of $250 to guarantee the hotel, he said). Once he received my money and cashed my checks he was not so responsive. He kept putting me off about receiving vouchers in the mail that he claimed were necessary for my trip- I became anxious called continually, I spoke to his wife and his son, both very lovely but did not speak to him again until just days before I left on my trip when he told me that he had forgotten to send them I received them just 4 days before I left.
Happily, there was a car to meet me at the airport although we took a long route as he had another passenger in the car and stopped repeatedly to allow her to run errands, after nearly an hour we arrived at my hotel, Prima Kings in Jerusalem – a little run down but nice staff and amazing breakfast.
The tour was subcontracted to Diesenhaus tours. Diesenhaus tours further subcontracted to rent a guide. The tour was rushed, little or no time to shop or see anything at all. The tour guide, Aharon, I felt singled me out for poor treatment as I was a single woman on a bus primarily occupied by couples. The couples were wonderful and welcoming which made for a wonderful trip. Initially, Aharon seemed to be joking but as the days wore on it became apparent that it was not good natured ribbing. At the point at which he dropped some of us in Tel Aviv, he left us more than ½ block from the hotel. Had it not been for the husbands of the 2 couples with me coming back for me to help me with all of my luggage I would not have known what to do. There are no words for a man doing that to a single woman alone. He would not have wanted his wife, daughters or mother treated as he did me. Aharon claimed that there was no where to pull up in front of the hotel. I inquired about this at the hotel and they told me and showed me that infact there was a specific place for him to pull over, he chose not to.
On the Sunday a different tour guide arrived for us Tomer, he was very nice, he came with a large bus and many, many more tourists. Some of the people grumbled on the trip because they specifically did not want to be on such a large tour and had specifically told Shalom Journeys that (I had no such notions). Tomer was knowledgeable and kind a huge improvement over Aharon. During the trip when I told Tomer it was one of the ladies birthday’s he arranged for a cake and a celebration for her, it was lovely. The only thing that was unfortunate was the last day of the tour. We came from the Golan Heights and instead of stopping in Tel Aviv first to drop off 7 people at 2 hotels he told us that he has instructions from his company to drop off the other 20+ people in Jerusalem at 5 hotels taking hours to do so. Tel Aviv is on the way to Jerusalem from the Golan Heights but he said he had been instructed and it was out of his control. As unhappy as I was I tried to understand but the patience of the 7 of us were wearing thin as it took nearly 5 hours and we were hungry tired and cranky. It would have taken less than an hour to drop us off and it was on the way to Jerusalem and Tomer had to go back to Jerusalem so this was wasted time, effort and gas (which is currently about $7.00 a gallon, American in Israel)
On December 25th I met my daughter; we were staying on for a few days together at the Prima Tel Aviv. We got to the hotel at noon, I asked for a wake up call at 2PM. They called at 12:30 telling me to get out of my room, I had no reservation. I went down to speak to them, I said I have a reservation – the clerk yelled at me why do you have 2 reservations that is why they didn’t know I had a reservation. I said that’s your problem not mine and went back to my room to sleep (my daughter was still asleep). At 1PM the hotel clerk called me and told me I had to pack and get out of my room I had to go to a different room. i went downstairs to the lobby. I told the clerk that I would be happy to move rooms only to a room on the top floors 4th or 5th floor. He said I will show you the room I said don’t bother if it’s not on the high floors. He insisted and I went with him, it was a beautiful room with a lovely view it was the more expensive room I had paid for, however, it was on the 1st floor, just above the bar. I told him it was unacceptable he told me to deal with my travel agent. the travel agent of record was Diesenhaus tours, I called 5 times they kept telling me to hold and kept hanging up on me, by the 4th call I was screaming- on the 5th call I spoke to Mieri, she wanted to know why the room was unacceptable I told her that at night they had a bar on the ground floor and at night the patrons roamed the halls looking for a place- the lower floors mostly -to have sex, I knew this because I had stayed on a lower floor last week, why didn’t I complain then she demanded the hotel management doesn’t know, I said of course they do a couple on the tour demanded a room change in the middle of the night because of these conditions. She then told me that she had spoken to Shalom Journey’s – Shalom Evan and that he would be giving me a partial refund on the price of the more expensive room that I was unable to use.
I returned from my trip and emailed him twice no response and phoned once again no response. I guess the only time he is responsive is before he cashes your check and then not at all when he owes you money.
Overall I loved the country, but I will be much more careful in the future.